Protecting valuable marine resources could offset the projected economic costs of climate change, according to a new WWF report.
Future Seas is based on two scenarios developed by a representative group of fishers, scientists, energy experts, community leaders, eco-tour operators, environmentalists, and Mäori and government representatives
The report examines the long-term future of New Zealand’s marine environment, which faces tremendous outside pressure on its resources, including from fishing and mineral extraction, competing interests within the marine environment, and pollution of marine habitats
Researchers concluded that New Zealand must take major steps to protect the country’s marine resources from the effects of climate change – steps that also could be replicated in other countries.
In particular, they highlighted the importance of marine reserves and Marine Protected Area’s (MPAs) as economic drivers to counteract the costs associated with those changes.
The report’s authors also said that marine reserves do not need to detract from the potential value of the marine economy.
Marine reserves can enhance a number of non-extractive activities and add value to activities undertaken outside of reserves, for example by providing scientific baseline information, enabling more informed ocean exploration, or by conserving a pool of genetic diversity which could improve species health in other areas.